Player press conference quotes: Dec. 18
Dec. 18, 2008
WR Quan Cosby
On if he is excited about proving to everyone how good the team is: Yes, definitely. We’re ready to move on and we have moved on. It’s one of those things that when it happened, of course you’re disappointed with the work that we’ve put in. But, it raises the question even more that we have a lot to prove. We always do. We have all year. We started the year picked to be fourth in this conference. Every game we have a lot to prove, and that’s the way we’re approaching it with our preparation. It won’t change when we get out there.
On Colt McCoy and the Heisman: Of course, from my bias and our personal friendship, I definitely wanted him to win. In my mind, he’s definitely the best in the country. But you know, it happens. Like I told him, it’s an honor to be there more than anything. They are all very deserving. They’ve all had outstanding years and their teams have had outstanding years, so it was a toss up. Every guy there, in my opinion, was a winner, because they were there and their teams have all been very successful this year.
On if he thought Brian Orakpo was the best in the country: I knew he was definitely one of them. Today, we were messing around and he was covering me, and when I was trying to get by him, I realized why he won all those awards. He’s amazing and he’s going to go to the next level and do just as well because of his work ethic. Any guy on this team is very deserving because I see how hard they work in practice and in the games. I know their passion and love for the game and each other. It’s one of those things where if anybody is up for an award, I think they are going to get it, because I see them a lot more than anyone else.
On the younger receivers stepping up: They’ve always stepped up for the most part. I know our younger receivers are having really good practices and they are really intense. They’re fired up about the bowl game and for some of them, it’ll be their first. It’s been a lot of fun. It hasn’t skipped a beat. All year long, the guys have played well together and have competed in preparation and on the field. It really hasn’t skipped a beat. As early as (practice) is (in the morning), you would think the guys would come out not as fired up, but they are, they are practicing hard and getting better.
LB Rashad Bobino
On if the win against Arizona State last year propelled them into this year: Our last game has always been the one that determines how the next season is going to be. We’re still a very young team, so this game is going to be very important for how they look next year and the experience that they will need next year. So, this is going to be a steppingstone. This is going to be a really good mark to tell how they are going to be.
On if he has ever been to Phoenix: No, I’ve never been to Phoenix. The only time I’ve been to Phoenix is stopping on the way out to L.A. or something for the Rose Bowl. This will be the first time and my first Fiesta Bowl. Get the chips ready. I can’t wait. I hear it’s really quiet out there. I’m ready to get out there, enjoy the scenery and enjoy the Fiesta Bowl and what it has to offer.
DT Roy Miller
On how the Fiesta Bowl is his last chance to display his talents: I just want to win the game. Every time I step on the field, I know I represent more than myself and I always want to perform to my best. I want other people to know that I’m a good player, and that’s the mentality that I take into a game. I hope that by the end of the game, anybody who has been evaluating me will take something positive from my performance.
On having the opportunity to play a smash mouth team: I’ve been waiting for a smash mouth running game all year. I think our whole defensive line has. That’s our mentality. Unfortunately, teams have come in with that game plan, but they don’t use it during the game. They plan to run inside and they end up running outside and stuff like that. I’m just looking forward to it. I know they have some great players on their team and it’ll be a challenge. We like challenges and that’s the reason why you play the game, because there are other people out there that are good, and you believe in your team and want to do well. We look forward to playing against a great offense and seeing what we can do.
OL Chris Hall
On how frustrating it was to be sidelined with an injury: You know, every football player wants to be out on the field, strapped up and getting after it. I was thankful that I got to be there. Coach allowed me to travel up to Kansas, be there with the guys and try to help David [Snow] as much as I could. My goodness, David Snow did a heck of a job. He really did well. He even got himself a Boss Hog, I think.
On bowl games: A bowl game is such a great ending to the year. You get to make a special trip to a special place where not many of the guys have been to before. You’re out there for a week in a nice hotel, new stadium and it’s a big game. It’s just really exciting. I just enjoy the whole experience.
On Ohio State: If you look at the programs, they are two storied programs with all kinds of award winners. You have national championships on both sides. I’m just really looking forward to game day. If you look at their defense, they are ranked in the top 10 in every category. On the offensive side of the ball, we are coming in against a great defense in Ohio State. We’re looking forward to January 5th.
On Kyle Hix: He’s a great football player and he’s a great teammate. He’s always pretty quiet in the mornings. He’s done a phenomenal job for us. He started for us as a true freshman last year in the bowl game. That’s a tough task for an offensive lineman as a true freshman. David [Snow] has done a great job of it this year. Michael Huey did a great job of it last year, coming in and playing a lot as a true freshman. Hix is just a great all-around teammate for us.
OT Adam Ulatoski
On if he is excited for the Fiesta Bowl: It’s going to be fun. Arizona will be fun, the bowl week is going to be fun and it is just going to be a fun game.
On how the off weeks have helped with injuries: We’ve had a couple of injuries, but I think most people are getting back now. Everyone is doing what they can, and we’ve played all season with nicks and injuries. If they can’t get back, I think we’ll be all right.
On the mindset of the team: You can’t live in the past and what’s done is done. There’s no reason to linger in the past. We have a game to focus on and not what people ranked us as.
On the physicality of practices so far: I think it’s typical of bowl practices to be more physical, because we have more time. We don’t have a game right away. We’ll have that week right beforehand that probably won’t be as physical as these practices. We’re hitting each other every day and we’re doing our Longhorn Drill, where you basically line up head-to-head and see who wins. We’re doing a lot of things, but I think we did that last year as well. I don’t think we’re catering so much to Ohio State as just trying to improve as a football team.
RB Chris Ogbonnaya
On reflecting on this year: I really set out this spring to start losing weight and to get in better shape to get myself a better chance to step up and make those big time plays. During two-a-days, my role was kind of defined as a third down back, and it didn’t work out the way that I kind of wanted it to. But I knew I was still going to be playing a lot and have a great opportunity to do some great things. But as a senior, it’s your last year and you want to do as much as you can. You want to have as big of a part as you can in the winning process. I think God works things out for a reason and that’s how it always has been in my life. I’ve had to always work through things and different challenges. I think for the most part, it’s been a great year, not just for me, but also for everybody. We’re 11-1 with the opportunity to go to another BCS game. It’s an honor. It doesn’t really matter anymore that it’s not the National Championship, because that’s done. We didn’t get the job done in Lubbock, and we can blame the computers and we can blame the system, but ultimately, we should’ve won. We’ve come to amends with that and we know what is ahead of us. We know that Ohio State is a great opponent. They have great tradition behind them, great players on defense and I know they have a great running back and skill players. Their defense has two All-Americans, a lot of first team Big Ten players and a Jim Thorpe Award winner, so we’re really excited about playing them.
On if he was amazed by this season: Yes and no. I think that Colt [McCoy] stepped his game up to an unbelievable level this year, but I think that blue-collar mentality that we brought to this season really helped us a lot. We took the fact that everybody was downplaying us and telling us that we wouldn’t be anything in the South this year to heart. We knew that it wasn’t true and we knew that we had a very talented team coming back. It was just a matter of who was going to step up and how healthy we would be able to stay. You look at somebody like Brian Orakpo, and he finally had an opportunity to stay healthy this year and everybody got to see what kind of player he is. It’s an honor to be able to play with those guys and win the games that we have won together.
On Brian Orakpo winning multiple awards: It was great because Rak has had a very tough road, on and off the field. He’s an incredible athlete that everybody has been talking about it here during the past three years. You had seen flashes the last couple of years, but to have him finally starting a full year was great. We’re very proud of Rak and he is one of my best friends on the team, and for him to do what he did was impressive.
On what he will tell the younger guys when it is time for him to leave: Just to stay focused, be responsible, be disciplined and just to be consistent in how you work, not just for football but in the classroom and everything else.
WR Jordan Shipley
It looks good. Obviously, I missed two whole years of football and actually the first three games of another year. It’s just a deal where it’s their decision. I think it looks good. I definitely feel like I deserve another year for missing those two, but it’s up to them and we’ll see what happens.
On the possibility of testing the NFL waters: Obviously I’ve thought about it. That’s just a deal where I would love to play at the next level at some point, but I feel like I have a lot I want to accomplish here before I do that. But if the situation comes up where I don’t get the extra year, it’s not a bad situation either way. But I’d like to come back.
On the Ohio State defense: They’re definitely one of the better defenses that we’ll have played. They look great on film. They’re really solid as a defense. We’re going to have to be really prepared and excited, and I think we will be.
On the changes made offensively when facing a tougher, more physical defense: As a receiving corps, we feel like, probably more than any other position, it’s not as much about the other team’s personnel, we feel like it’s all about situations for us. We’ve got to be able to read the coverages and fit in the zones, stuff like that. We don’t look as much at personnel as much as we need to be able to handle whatever they throw at us.
On practicing after a long layoff: We have an early morning workout pretty much every morning, we’re lifting hard, running every day after practice and conditioning. Coach Brown wants to establish that we’re going to work hard and start over again, and I think he’s done that. We’ve been working extremely hard.
On how bowl practices this year compare to those of last season: I think we’re not changing everything like we did last year because this whole year has been pretty much different. The whole year has been a little more intense. The way we finished last year has kind of carried over into this year. Obviously we didn’t have to change a lot, because that’s what we’ve been doing anyway. But we get everybody up and moving in the morning and we’re conditioning a lot right now and working really hard in the weight room.
On whether the Fiesta Bowl will be a redemption game: I don’t know if it’s a redemption game. We feel like obviously we need to play as well as we can. I think it would be a great ending to this season if we could go out, play well and win this game. We want to do it for all the seniors that are leaving.
DE Henry Melton
On Texas being the early favorite to win: As far as the numbers go, we’re ranked three and they’re 10. Those are just rankings. It’s two great teams. They came out of a great conference; they lost a couple games. We came out of our conference; we lost a game. It’s just the luck of the draw with two great teams.
On the importance of physicality in the game: During practice, we go against our first team. They’re giving us looks like (Ohio State) would give us. It’s physical right now, so I think we’re going to be ready.
On whether this is a redemption game: No. We just want to go out there and get a win, a huge, BCS win.
On the chance to be compared closely to Ohio State’s defense: Our defense has played great all year. I’ve never seen team chemistry like we have right now on defense. We’re all out there flying around, cheering each other on. We just want to prove it to the nation.
On the team’s intensity during practice: We were pumped, but right now we’re getting into the plays more, and they’re letting us think a little bit. I know next week we’re going to start prepping up a little more on them. We’re all going to be fired up and ready.
On the contrasting styles of Ohio State’s quarterbacks: I know [Terrelle] Pryor likes to run a lot, and they’ll run more of the zone read on us. [Todd] Boeckman, when I saw him in there more in the beginning, he was more of a pocket [passer], maybe roll out a little bit. You have to know who’s in the ballgame and how to defend it, on the pass or the run.
On the comparisons of Terrelle Pryor to Vince Young: I see a little bit of that. Vince is a great player and Pryor is going to be great. They try to use him in that kind of way. He’s got excellent speed. It’s deceiving. We’re just going to be ready.
OG Cedric Dockery
On the matchup with Ohio State’s defensive line: Watching what little film I’ve seen on them, they have a bunch of big, strong guys. They play the run pretty well. It looks like we’re going to have to go out there and play full tilt and technically sound to run the ball against these guys.
On closing out his career at Texas and the prospect of being drafted: First and foremost, I’d like to thank God for allowing me to do everything I’ve done up to this point. It’s a fun time. I have a lot of things to prove to a lot of other people. I came here as a young kid and left a man. That’s how Coach Brown describes it. I’m about to get married, so I am looking forward to a lot of neat things. Hopefully the NFL stuff works out for me. If not, I have a degree from The University of Texas and I’m getting my T-ring pretty soon, so I’m pretty happy about that. I’m going to go on, pursue life and be successful at other things.
On whether he feels like he left his own mark instead of playing in the shadow of his brother, Derrick: I’m pretty sure I’ve made a name for myself at this university. It may not be from a notoriety standpoint, but people know who I am, people know I play at The University of Texas. I’m honored to sit here today and talk to y’all about how great this university is and what they’ve allowed me to do.
CB Ryan Palmer
On whether it’s easy to get excited about playing in a BCS game as opposed to the Alamo and Holiday Bowls: It’s much easier to prepare because it’s a national scene and everybody’s going to see you play. I think the guys in practice, the last couple of days, we’ve had a motivated practice. I think guys see that it’s an opportunity to show the world why we think we are who we are. We just have to go out there and prove it.
On how the Ohio State offense compares to those in the Big 12: They’re more traditional; they run the ball a lot. They’re not like the Big 12 teams that are going to throw it around a lot. We’ve got to get ready to hit Beanie and Pryor. They’re both big athletes. They’ve got a good receiver in [Brian Robiskie], so we’ve got to be ready to play. It’s going to be different than what we’re used to because they run a lot of power, so we’ve just got to be ready to tackle.
On passing the torch as a senior to the younger players: I’m not going to be here next year, so I think Earl [Thomas], Deon [Beasley] and the guys that have played a lot, they have to step up and make sure they keep the train rolling. I have no doubt in my mind those guys are going to be excellent next year with a year under their belts. They’re going to have a lot of camaraderie back there, so there are going to be a lot of good things for them in the future.
On playing in the last bowl game of his career: It’s our last one, so we have to go out with a win. The seniors have a lot of things we still want to accomplish and the younger guys do to, so we’re going to come together and try to get a big win on the field.
On how things have progressed since Will Muschamp arrived on campus in February: I didn’t really know what to expect because I love Coach [Duane] Akina, but I think all the seniors were open to it. We’ve had a lot of defensive coordinators and some of us were getting tired of it. I think the first week, we knew that he was going to be our guy because he was so focused and intense. Ever since, he’s been a fit for most of the guys on defense. We feed off of him and it’s a great thing that he’s staying. It’s going to continue the program’s tradition in the future.
On the comparisons of Terrelle Pryor to Vince Young: He has a little bit of Vince in him. He runs a lot and is a big strong athlete. But in time, I think he’s going to be a great player. I’m not going to take anything away from the guy. Once he gets all his tools down, he’s going to be a scary player. He and Robert Griffin are both going to be scary quarterbacks.
QB Colt McCoy
On meeting players off the field at award ceremonies: I’ve been able to meet a lot of influential people and great athletes, and guys that I watch on TV all the time, guys my age that are playing, and get to know who they are off the field. It’s been a lot of fun.
On the satisfaction that comes with starting practice and getting back to football: I told someone the other day that I loved New York, it was my first time going up there. But I loved getting on the plane and leaving too, and coming home, seeing my teammates, practicing and preparing for Ohio State. You can get caught up in that stuff really easily and I was ready to get home.
On Ohio State’s defense: They’re really good. Ohio State’s defense is definitely a big reason they’ve only lost two games. They’ve been in a BCS game as long as I can remember. They’re a tough opponent. You look their defense, and they’re huge. They’re probably the biggest defense that we’ve faced all year. They’re front four and their linebackers are really big. So we have our hands full. We have our work cut out for us. They’re only giving up 14 points a game. Their pass defense is highly ranked. It’s going to be a challenge but we’re looking forward to it.
On Ohio State LB James Laurinaitis: He was sitting behind me in Orlando, and he was blowing on my neck, telling me I’d better get used to it. I had a few comebacks for him, but it was fun. Getting to meet him and Jenkins, they’re both All-Americans, both great players on their defense. It’s going to be fun having the opportunity to play against them. I told [Laurinaitis] he needed to thank me for starting him out on his All-American campaign the last three years, because I definitely gave him about the easiest pick he’s had his whole career. But he’s a tremendous player. He leads his defense in tackles. He gets them where they need to be all the time.
On how bowl practices this year compare to those of last season: I still look at last year as a turning point, and we’re not doing anything different this year. We’re still practicing early, lifting weights, running after every practice. I think the biggest thing is we’re having fun with it. The seniors are doing a great job of waking everybody up, getting us motivated, getting us ready to practice. I’ve seen more people hit each other in the last three days than I’ve seen in a long time. We’re going at it in practice, one versus one [first team versus first team]. So we’re definitely going to be ready to play when we get out to Arizona.
On how much easier It is to zero in on football when classes are over for the semester: It’s football and that’s it. School is over, thank goodness. All of our focus is on practicing, watching film, getting your body ready to play and just waiting for Jan. 5.
On any extra motivation for the game: Maybe a little bit because obviously we were disappointed that we didn’t get to play in the Big 12 Championship. We were disappointed with the way that worked out. We felt like we had done what we could all year long to have an opportunity to play in that game. But that’s not how it turned out, and great teams overcome that. Great teams forget about that, they put it behind them, and that’s what we’ve done. We’re super excited about the opportunity to play in the Fiesta Bowl, a great BCS game. There’s always that chance that you’ll play for a split national title. Obviously you have to go out there and play well, win your game. But our focus is not on that, our focus is on doing what we need to do to win, because Ohio State is really tough. They’re a great defensive football team and we have our work cut out for us. We want to go out there and make that the best game we’ve played all year.
DE Brian Orakpo
On whether this year was vindication for years past that have been cut short by injury: Being healthy is the number one thing to do, especially in this game. It’s a very physical game and sometimes it’s hard to be healthy. You play 100 percent to the fullest and sometimes things happen. My drive and my goal was to make up for lost time. In 2007, we could have easily had a season like this if everybody was healthy. We had a lot of guys down and we had to trust a lot of inexperienced people. Coming into this year, I said it all the time, we had to make up for lost time, handle adversity and keep working. That’s what happened between this year and last year.
On his favorite thing about bowl game preparation: Just having a lot of intensity and fun with your teammates is my favorite thing. This time of year is fun because you’re going to play in a great bowl, in a great city, and obviously have a lot of fun when the bowl has a lot of hospitality for you. Preparing and game planning is fun. We’re having a blast out there, being with each other once again, and getting one more chance to put on a show. That’s what we like to do and we work very hard at doing so.
On Ohio State’s offense: They’re a very physical team. They take pride in running the ball and being a smash mouth team, that’s what the Big 10 is really known for. They do a good job of doing so. Obviously they had to handle a lot of adversity with the quarterback situation, and Pryor stepped in and was named the number one guy. So they had to get used to the different schemes and the way he played, that’s why the sacks were probably given up in certain games, but they got into a groove and are playing cohesively together. I can’t say it enough – they work well as a unit.
On matching Ohio State’s physicality: Like every game, but this one especially since they pride themselves on running the ball, we have to control the line of scrimmage. With a great running back in Beanie Wells, every time I watch him he reminds me of Brandon Jacobs with the New York Giants. He’s so big and so fast. We have to run the ball. We can’t expect one guy to finish off the tackle because he’s very elusive and has a lot of speed, and also can break tackles at the same time. We have to control the line of scrimmage and make Pryor throw the ball.
On whether the team still has a lot to prove going into the Fiesta Bowl: There’s a lot. I don’t know how much there is, but we feel like there’s a lot still out there. It’s the last time to put on a Texas uniform for myself and the rest of the seniors, and also there’s a lot for the younger guys to get better and carry that into spring ball for the next year. We can still be either one or two, we don’t know the situation, but it’s just another chance to put on that Texas uniform, perform and have fun with the teammates and coaches. Bowl time is a great thing for us because we do a great job of preparing for these bowl games. Having fun is the number one thing and that’s what we plan on doing.